TOWAMENCIN >> Max Nice came up with a hat trick, goalie Rob Farrington played an outstanding second half, and coach Bryan Churchey’s “road warriors” did it again, winning for the second time in as many days in these District 1-3A Playoffs.
“It feels great — first time ever in our history,” Nice said of advancing to the district quarterfinals. “We worked great as a team and we couldn’t have done it without our goalie.”
No. 10 Perk Valley jumped out to a 3-0 lead and pulled away late to an 8-4 victory over No. 7 North Penn, advancing to a quarterfinal matchup at home against Garnet Valley on Saturday.
“We’re playing great team lacrosse right now,” Churchey said. “The boys are hot, they’re having a lot of fun, and we’re playing with a ton of energy. And that’s what you want this time of the year.”
The Vikings improved to 13-6 on the season, closing this one out with a 3-0 run after the Knights had closed to within 5-4 in the third quarter.
North Penn, which got a pair of goals from Danny Payne, saw a tremendous season come to a close.
“The bounces didn’t go our way tonight,” Knights coach Rick Smith said. “I feel like they beat us in transition and they had more quality shots than we had.”
Nick Steele scored for the Vikings 5 minutes and 17 seconds into the contest, followed by back-to-back tallies from Nice.
“We were doing well. Everyone was performing,” Nice said. “We did have a couple turnovers but we came out in the end and did great.”
North Penn cut it to 3-2, with Lucas Yannul and Payne connecting, but Brian Fehr answered for the Vikings early in the second quarter, making it 4-2.
The Vikings were operating smoothly.
“We’ve been road warriors most of the season — a couple weeks ago we had to play three games in a row, and our approach this week was not only mental preparation but physical preparation,” Churchey said. “Make sure you’re hydrating, make sure you’re eating well, and doing the things that you need to do. And these guys have responded.”
PV never gave up the lead.
North Penn twice cut it to one, getting to within 4-3 and 5-4, but Perk Valley stayed in control.
“Our goal is to come out strong, come out with a lot of energy, and we’re very consistent in that approach,” Churchey said. “Our offense came out hot, we did a great job of possessing the ball and taking what they gave us.”
Farrington made saves in bunches in the second half as the Knights tried to get closer. Fehr extended the margin to 6-4 for PV, Nice had his hat trick, and Nick Beaudoin closed out the scoring.
“We had a little meeting about getting back to who we are and our identity,” Churchey said, “and we showed up tonight.”
Getting Over the Hump
The Knights got within 5-4 just 12 seconds into the third quarter and kept the pressure on, but Farrington got in the way, making one stop after another.
“Rob was going crazy,” Nice said with a smile.
“In the second half, their goalie played outstanding,” Smith said. “He had a lot of saves. My hat’s off to them. They’re a good team. They did a good job.”
The Knights lost a lot to graduation a year ago but made it back to the district playoffs.
“I am super proud of our seniors,” Smith said. “Going into the season, I believe just qualifying for the district playoffs was a step in the right direction. And I challenged the underclassmen after this game to get over this hurdle — this is the second year in a row where we’re just not getting over this hurdle of getting through (to the quarters).
“Our captains kind of came up with the motto, which was a tai-dai shirt — we’re all together. We’re all together as one, and the seniors definitely maintained that.”